April 1, 2013 -

John Heald

So the Miami Heat were on a massive winning streak and then I arrive in town and they get their arses kicked by a heard of bulls. Yep, basketball, I love it and so do millions of people around the world. I fell in love with basketball the first time I went to see a Miami Heat game. The American Airlines Stadium was packed and while I had not very good seats I could see the main attraction, the Miami Heat dancers. I love them all and expect they have names like Crystal and Summer. I watched them dressed in very short cheerleader-type skirts and tight T-shirts with the Heat emblem festooned across their ample breasts. I dreamt that on hearing my British accent I would have my Hugh Grant moment with in the changing room.

OK, sorry, got sidetracked there. So back to the first game I saw and my memories were of an unbelievably squeaky wooden floor on which two sets of unfeasibly tall men ran from one end of the court to the other like baggy metronomes, dropping the ball into opposing hoops. But slowly I began to realise it was much more, so much more and now I love the game and worship at the temple where the giants play.

Basketball in the UK is getting more popular and so is the NBA. Players like LeBron, Howard, Wade, Bryant, etc. are now slowly becoming household names. If though you ask Brits to name two famous basketball players, they will most likely say…“Michael Jordan” and ……… “Dennis Rodman” …….yep, Dennis Rodman. He is known not for being a decent player for Chicago but for his flamboyant behavior, tattoos, piercings, cross dressing and for being a bad boy. And in the UK at least, he is even more infamous, especially since he was seen visiting the absolute nutjob that is North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un.

Now Dennis Rodman was quoted as saying that Kim was just “a fun loving kid.” Well, Dennis, fun loving kids are annoying when they have access to a slingshot or one of those mega spray water gun thingies, let alone a nuclear arsenal and a million-strong army. I guess Mr. Rodman must have taken too many offensive fouls during his time as a Chicago Bull because he now seems to have the brain capacity of an amoeba. And as for Kim Jong Un…………what the hell is going on with his haircut? Come on Kim, get with the Gangham Style

So after a long time away let’s have a look at 10 questions posted to the blog. Away we go.

Lana Bosovitch asks:
Your room service menu leaves a lot to be desired and compared to my past cruise experiences I have to write that the lack of hot food and simple burgers and pizza for midnight snacks means that you are way behind other cruise lines. Why is Carnival so frugal with what they provide the passengers for room service?

John says:
Hello Lana Bosovitch,
I was surprised to read this because I have always felt that our complimentary room service menu was a superb one. In fact, let’s have a quick look at it shall we?

All Sandwiches are served with Potato Salad, Coleslaw, Potato Chips or Pretzels.
Choice of White, Whole Wheat or Rye Bread.

Tuna Salad
Roast Turkey
Ham and Cheese
Peanut Butter and Jelly
Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato
Shrimp Salad on French Roll
Mozzarella & Portobello Mushrooms on Focaccia
Roasted New York Strip Loin and Cheddar Cheese on French Bread

Grilled American Cheese
Grilled Reuben with Corned Beef and Swiss Cheese
Chicken Fajita, Guacamole with Greens in a Jalapeno & Tomato Wrap
Hot Pastrami Sandwich on Rye Bread

Mixed Greens (Served with Choice of Ranch, Thousand Island, Balsamic Vinaigrette, Blue Cheese or Fat Free Honey Mustard Dressing)
Caesar Salad (Hearts of Romaine Lettuce Tossed with our Caesar Dressing, freshly grated Parmesan Cheese, Anchovies and Herb Croutons)
Assorted Vegetable Sticks with Blue Cheese Dip

New York Cheesecake
Assorted Cookies
Chocolate Cake
Fresh Fruit Salad
Strawberry Yogurt

Bottled Spring Water is Available in Your Stateroom for a Nominal Fee
Orange – Tomato – Apple – Grapefruit Juice
Regular or Decaffeinated Coffee
Hot Tea – Iced Tea
Hot Chocolate – Milk
Skim Milk – Chocolate Milk

Soft Drinks available 24 Hours
Coca Cola – Diet Coke
Sprite – Diet Sprite
Club Soda – Ginger Ale
Tonic Water

Budweiser – Bud Light – Miller Lite
Coors Light – Michelob Ultra

Heineken – Corona – Beck’s
Amstel Light

There you go and, respectfully, I think it offers a great selection. Our pizza is open 24 hours and I think I am correct in saying that there is a charge on some lines for late night service. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed your cruise and if you have any further comments please let me know.
Best wishes.

Jodi Politan asks:
How and when can I sign up for your Blogger Cruise #7 on the Sunshine on Feb. 16th 2014. Already booked on the cruise.

John says:
Hello Jodi Politan,
Thanks so very much for joining us on our 7th annual Bloggers Cruise and I will be taking a registration here of all those who wish to be included in the activities and shows, etc., later this year. I will do my best to make this a wonderful cruise for you and if you have any questions, please let me know.
Best wishes.

Ron Millstein asks:
There should be some kind of compensation package in place for ships that miss a port that is often missed. I refer to, of course, Roatan which we missed on the Carnival Dream. I spoke to crew members and they said they miss it a lot because of weather. So this is the question — which I hope you will answer avoiding the smut and sarcasm which you have become infamous for and give me a straight answer if you are capable. Why does Carnival keep this as a port if it is missed more times than it is called at? Stupid runs rife, I see Mr. Heald in the corridors of Carnival because we missed the port because of what the captain claimed to be “high winds,” and zero compensation was offered. Why have this as a port of call if there is a big chance that the ship will abort? Stupid, stupid, stupid.
Ron Milstein

John says:
Hello Ron Millstein,
The fact is that we don’t miss the beautiful port of Mahogany Bay more than we call there and to suggest otherwise is, I am afraid, totally and utterly incorrect. Yes, we have missed the port a few times because of the high winds which when entering the port, can be very dangerous indeed as a ship wreck that you can see as you enter clearly shows. We always hate to miss a port and especially one such as Mahogany Bay because it is such a great place for our guests to visit and I am sorry that this happened on your cruise. I hope sincerely that you enjoyed the cruise though and I hope one day soon you will get a chance to visit Roatan.
Best wishes.

Tyler Jones asks:
Hey John,
I was wondering if you can offer any insight on the Carnival Sensation, I will be sailing out on a four-day cruise to the Bahamas in May 2013. I have read some mixed reviews because of the ships age, but mostly read positive reviews. What are your thoughts/opinions about the Carnival Sensation? Love reading all your blogs and posts on Facebook! Keep up the wonderful work!
Who is the cruise director for the Carnival Sensation?

Jonh says:
Hello Tyler Jones,
She is a great ship and I ask kindly that you remember that reviews are personal opinions and not always based on fact. The ship is one of my favourtites as she was the first ship I delivered from new and I know that you will have a wonderful time. The cruise director will be the one and only Wee Jimmy who is very funny and I hope you get a chance to meet him. If there is anything you need or if you have any questions please let me know. Best wishes and have a great cruise.

Lori Courville asks:
Hi John, I’m a first time poster. I want to first say we have sailed the Carnival Magic two times in the last 10 months and thoroughly enjoyed James as our CD!! He was not only fun but helped us play a prank on a fellow cruiser. We are sailing the Carnival Sunshine in 2014 and will miss him but wanted to experience a new boat this time. My question is: what is Carnival’s policy on letting us decorate our friend’s cabin while they are out. Will we be able to get them to open their cabin for us with no problem? Thanks a bunch, look forward to our next sail 🙂

John says:
Hello Lori Courville,
I am so glad you had fun and I will pass your kind words to James. I am afraid that unless your friends give you their cabin key or written permission presented by them at the guest services desk that you will not be able to get into the cabin. You can, of course, decorate the door which will be fun I think. If there is anything I can do, please let me know though and I wish you all the best of times. Best wishes.

Dr. Jeffery Bruce asks:
John, I turn eagerly to your column because, unlike most if not all corporate-based blogs, I am able to revel in your lack of political correctness and tongue-in-cheek style. In this age of implicit litigation and threatened reprisals for any commentator who dares to raise their head voice above the normal. Yes, sir, you are a breath of fresh air.

John says:
Hello Doctor Jeffrey Bruce,
I realise that my writing is not for everyone and so it is uplifting to read your kind words. I hope we get to meet one day and thank you for being so very kind.
Best wishes

Brandi sterling asks:
Good morning John!
We are cruising on the March 30 sailing on Carnival Breeze and were excited to have CD Butch after hearing wonderful things. I see this morning, he will now be taking a much needed break. Do you know who we will have the pleasure of having in his absence?

John asks:
Hello Brandi Sterling,
Yes, he is taking a break and I agree that it is well deserved. Your CD will be Brent who is a wonderful Canadian jokester who I know you will truly enjoy. Have a great time and enjoy this wonderful ship. Best wishes

Delia Benmosche asks:
John! On our recent sailing on the Carnival Ecstasy, I was chosen to participate in the Hasbro Game show night! On my team, we had an eight-year-old named _____ who could not throw the basketball properly and because of him, we lost. I was very angry at this because the other team had a kid but he was much older, maybe 14 or more, and got the balls in the row OK. I lost a chance of the star prize and this is not the way it should be. Why have kids in the game or if you do have a kids-only afternoon but the evening Hasbro event should be adults only. There were many kids on the ship and for this and other reasons, they ruined my cruise.

John says:
Hello Delia Benmosche,
I am sorry to read this but I hope you will try and allow me to explain. You see, Hasbro is a family game and it appears on TV involving families and people of all ages. The pre-games involve Trivial Pursuit games, etc., and if a child offers up an answer we always try and include them and have a mixture of demographics on stage. I am sorry that your team lost but I am sure if you really give this true consideration, it wasn’t just because of the child. I hope you get the chance to play on your next cruise and that this time you win.
Best wishes.

Beverley Henderson asks:
There are four of us that cruise with Carnival at least once a year with it usually a back to back or a cruise with 14-plus days. Three of us are Platinum members, soon to be going to the next level. My question is although we enjoy each other company, we prefer to sit at a larger table so that we might meet other people. As you know, one of the first things we have to do is go to the dining room and TRY to get our table changed. This is not always possible unless it is a back to
back then we can usually ask for a larger table for the second week. Is there any way in our booking to ask for that larger table so we don’t have to run right down to the dining room? If you could please let me know before September as we are booked on the Carnival Freedom for a
back to back.
Thank you.

John says:
Hello Beverley Henderson,
I will certainly do my best and please send me your cabin numbers here on the blog one month before you sail or better still can you send me the same information five days before your cruise on my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/johnheald. I wish you all a great time.
Best wishes.

Amanda Evans says:
Hi John,
I wrote to you a while back, on January 9. I apologize if it is too soon to write again – but since I haven’t heard from you and I’m really desperate for these answers so that I can have peace of mind and look forward to our cruise without fears and worries, I thought I’d try.

My fiancé and I will be sailing on Carnival Inspiration this coming July 22, 2013 to Catalina Island and Ensenada and we are SO EXCITED! I seriously cannot tell you… It is our first “real” vacation together, AND our first cruise, AND our honeymoon all in one. (I have shared the Carnival Gifts link with my mom in hopes that she’ll pass it around to family and friends, because I think it would just be SO DARN ROMANTIC to arrive to find flowers in the room, or receive a gift of champagne and strawberries, or whatnot!! 🙂 )

My questions are related to the fact that I am a very large lady – 500 pounds with some mobility issues and I want to be sure I’ve done whatever is needed to have a great vacation. I cannot walk more than a very short distance or stand for more than three to five minutes without extreme back pain. I will either rent or purchase a scooter before our cruise, and we have booked the fully accessible cabin for this reason.

I read a horror story about a larger woman on a mobility scooter breaking the gangplank and nearly falling into the gap between the ship and the dock. Can you calm my fears by sharing the weight limit of the gangplank on the Carnival Inspiration? Is there a weight limit on the toilets in the rooms? I see that they are wall-mounted rather than supported on the floor. Is this the same.
in the accessible cabins? I read one story where a self-identified “super sized BBW” woman expressed concerns about the toilet in her room and the staff were able to install a block under the toilet to support it. Is this something you’ve heard of? Can it be arranged ahead of time?

Would it be possible for me to sit during the safety drill? I cannot stand comfortably for more than two to three minutes. Are there any other things that you’ve learned over the years that larger cruisers should anticipate/be prepared to do differently? Thanks in advance for your courteous attention,
Amanda Evans

John says:
Hello Amanda Evans,
I am very glad that you have written to me and please do not worry because we will make sure you and those traveling with you have a brilliant time. Please, when you read this, can you contact Carnival’s guest access services desk and let them know your cabin number? This will be then documented and sent to the ship. I also ask that one week before you sail if you can please contact me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/johnheald and I will alert the ship and make sure she is well looked after. We have a special needs team on board who will look after you during the safety briefing and in a real emergency and, of course, you will be allowed to stay on your scooter. I am here if you have any questions and I wish you all the best of times.
Best wishes.

Richard says:
I saw your posting on Facebook regarding Sierra Nevada Pale Ale being added to the Carnival beer list. Do you know when it will be available? As far as I can tell from the Interwebs it’s not currently available.

John says:
Hello Richard,
It’s now available across the fleet and I hope you get a chance to enjoy it on board soon.
Best wishes.

Paul Ruby asks:
John, my son will be taking his last vacation before he goes to Parris Island to start his United States Marine Corps training. We will all be on the Magic 4/28 and I hope you can do something very special for my son Ricky. He will be in cabin 2419 and I would like to see him being upgraded and given VIP treatment before he starts his service to protect his nation.

John says:
Hello Paul Ruby,
Please would you thank your son for his upcoming service and I wish him all the very best as he starts his life in the US Marine Corps. I am afraid I cannot upgrade him but I will send him something to wish him a wonderful cruise. Thanks again and have a great time.
Best wishes.

Vanessa Morgan asks:
Are you able to tell me if there will be any dance hosts on the trans-Atlantic cruise I will be doing with you back to New York on the Carnival Legend? We had them on Holland America and as a single cruiser, I really enjoyed it. Does Carnival provide this?

John says:
Hello Vanessa Morgan,
I am sorry to say we do not have them on this voyage or indeed on any of our cruises. I know they are very popular at our sister line but my apologies that we do not have them at Carnival. I know though you will have a wonderful time and if there is anything I can do for you, please do let me know.
Best wishes and see you soon.

And that’s all for today with my thanks to all those who post comments here and take the time to read my musings.

Let’s say a big congratulations to Adri of the Carnival Conquest’s Alchemy Bar who was named bartender of the year for the second year in a row.


She is a wonderful lady and I hope you all get a chance to meet this deserved winner. Congratulations Adri, I am very proud of you.

“Hello John”…….. “We missed you, John.” These proclamations have been ringing in my ears since I walked on board the Carnival Legend yesterday and were said sincerely by the staff and crew and that has made me feel so welcomed. Last night, as I walked the ship I watched the same crew say “hello” and “good evening” to every guest who passed them by. Now I have always documented how friendly our crew is but one thing struck me last night. You see, I haven’t been on a ship for some months and having stayed in so many hotels during my travels, I noticed that unlike the hotel guests, the guests here on the Carnival Legend said “hello” back. This I think proves that a cruise creates an atmosphere that a hotel or resort just cannot compete with…….they must be so jealous.

Yep, it’s been some time since I have been on a ship that is in operation, full of people so happy to be on vacation, so ready to relax and have fun. After all that has happened and all that has been reported in the press in recent weeks, it is such a pleasure to see this and to see that Carnival continues to be the most affordable and most fun vacation choice there is. And as I sit here in m underpants, I realise that this atmosphere of joyous excitement here on the Carnival Legend can be, right now found on all of our ships and soon will be on Carnival Triumph and Carnival Sunshine, as well. This cruise is the last the Carnival Legend will have in the Caribbean and next Sunday I shall be in the CD chair trying to remember how to be a cruise director (it’s been five months) as we head across the Atlantic. But that’s for next week, this is the last of the Caribbean cruises and here is who is sailing with us

UK 32

I will of course be here and on Facebook with a full preview of that in the week ahead and live reports each day as we head to Barcelona next Sunday.

So I have a busy week arranging and finalizing the oh FFS this sodding computer keeps putting a Z where there should be an S…….finalising (spelt correctly you bastard Dell) the trans-Atlantic crossing and the forthcoming European season. James Dunn remains the CD here this cruise and has done a brilliant job as always.

It is, as I said, so nice to be back on a ship, seeing everyone enjoying their hard earned vacation. Vacation time is special and we are so privileged that 4.5 million people a year give their vacation time to us here at Carnival. Walking around the ship, though, it does make me chuckle how time itself and the habits we have all picked up these days manifests itself on the ships. Take the internet, for example. Ten years ago (roughly), when we first put internet cafes on the ships and a guest needed to check some sports scores or to see if they had been offered the chance to buy a bigger gentleman’s sausage, it took about maybe a minute for the connection to load. This is now, though, apparently minute guests cannot spare. We will eventually have the high speed internet connection packages on more and more ships so guests will have to wait only 10 seconds to go on YouTube to see a video of Kim Jong Un playing one on one with his new BFF Dennis Rodman.

It’s the same thing with elevators. Why do we put button in our elevators that closes the doors when we’re ready to go because we simply cannot wait 10 seconds for them to close by themselves? It’s the same on Lido deck. If I fancy some Mongolian Wok and there are 10 people in line, I will say “bugger that “and bugger off to the deli or the buffet even though it’s the delicious bowl of spicy stir fry that I desire. I am sure many of you may do the same but I encourage you not to and instead, stand in the line, talk to people — unless you’re Russian, of course, because you will have already pushed to the front of the line as we saw so many times on Carnival Breeze last year.

Time is precious, though, and, as I said, there is no more precious time than your vacation so to the millions of you who will be spending your time with us on the brilliant ships of Carnival Cruise Lines I say a huge “thank you” and we will all do our best to make sure the time you spend with us is quite simply……….the best of times. Wandering around the Carnival Legend it is so superb to see 2,700 people having the best of times and I wish the press world were here to see it for themselves.

I am excited to take over as CD next week. I am excited to get back to trying to make people laugh and to listening to the guests comments, some of which I will be sharing with you here and on Facebook. I am excited to try some new activities I have thought up and I am excited about simply being a cruise director again. There is one thing though that I am not excited about. You see, the ship has something I haven’t been involved in for some years but here it is again to torment me. Yep, this ship has the original Carnival Legends show which means……I have to wear that sodding Dolly Parton dress again. Oh FFS!

Your friend,


Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.